Lentil Sloppy Joes

You GUYS! For your meatless Monday, I made you these quick and easy Lentil Sloppy Joes!

I hope you like lentils like I like lentils because these Lentil Sloppy Joes are just as easy and are simply the vegetarian version of the classic meaty sloppy joe.

Lentil Sloppy Joes l SimplyScratch.com

As a kid {and still as an adult} I loved a messy sloppy joe. Soft squishy bun melting away from the saucy, meaty filling. To.Die.For.

Coming home after school and finding out we were having sloppy joes for dinner always made me happy. Still does. It’s quick. It’s easy. And now thanks to lentils there’s a healthy meat-less option.

Now as a kid we didn’t top our sloppy joes with anything. My husband likes to add a slice of cheese to his. But since these are healthy-joes, I top’em with a quick cilantro cabbage slaw. The slaw jazzes them up with color, crunch and flavor.

For fun I used slider buns, but of course… regular buns work just fine. I love using slider buns especially for kids whose little hands might not be able to grip a big-o-bun that has joe spilling out everywhere, know-what-i-mean?

Now how about I show you just how easy it is to make these joes!

the goods

I took the base of my classic childhood sloppy joe sauce and amped it up with bell peppers, cumin, chili powder and swapped out the sugar for real maple syrup. It might sound crazy, but it does add a touch of sweetness to balance out all the savory.

pick through, rinse and drain

Start by rinsing a pound of dried lentil under the faucet until the water coming out from the lentils runs clear.

add the water

Throw them into a deep sauce pan and fill with 5 cups of cool water.

lid it and boil!

Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the temperature and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Once cooked, drain and set off to the side.

diced peppers, onion and garlic

For the “joe” sauce; finely dice up a red and green bell pepper {1/4 cup of each}, one medium yellow onion and 3 cloves of fresh garlic.

organic ketchup... or make your own!

In a large measuring cup {or any bowl} measure and add in the cup and a half of ketchup. Have you made your own ketchup yet? It’s the bee’s knees you guys!

chili powder

A tablespoon of chili powder.


A teaspoon of cumin.


And 1/8 teaspoon of paprika.

s & p

Measure and add in the 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.

mustard, vinegar and maple syrup

Next add in the 1/2 tablespoon of both prepared mustard and vinegar and then 2 tablespoons of real maple syrup.


And lastly, pour in a quarter cup of water.


And then stir and that’s it. So easy!


Next, heat a Dutch oven over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the pot is hot {ha!} add in the peppers and onions.


Then sauté, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are soft and the onions are translucent.


Next, add in the garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.

add sauce

Then after the garlic has cooked for a couple minutes, pour in the joe sauce.

cover and simmer

Next, stir, cover and simmer the sauce on low for 10 minutes.

Lentil Sloppy Joes l SimplyScratch.comLentil Sloppy Joes l SimplyScratch.com

Lastly, after the sauce has simmered add in the cooked lentils and then stir them into the sauce.


Lentil Sloppy Joes l SimplyScratch.com

All that’s left to do is to stuff some buns and make the Lentil Sloppy Joes. I used whole wheat slider buns… but any buns will do!

It’s Monday, let’s go meatless!

Enjoy! And if you give this Lentil Sloppy Joes recipe a try, let me know! Snap a photo and tag me on twitter or instagram!

Lentil Sloppy Joes l SimplyScratch.com

My cookbook Simply Scratch : 120 Wholesome Homemade Recipes Made Easy is now available! CLICK HERE for details and THANK YOU in advance! 

Yield: 12

Lentil Sloppy Joes

Lentil Sloppy Joes
A vegetarian version of the classic sloppy joe.
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour



  • 1 pound organic brown lentils
  • 5-1/4 cups water, divided
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1/2 cup green bell pepper, finely diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely diced
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/8 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 1/2 tablespoon prepared mustard
  • 1/2 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 12 whole wheat slider buns


  • 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium lime, juiced
  • 1 jalapeno, seeded and finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 small head of purple cabbage, shredded
  • 1 small bunch of fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 green onions, sliced thin on an angle
  • 2 carrots, peeled and grated
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt



  1. Rinse and drain one pound of lentils. Place them into a large saucepan. Pour in five cups of cool water, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the lentils are tender. Drain and set off to the side.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the ketchup, chili powder, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, water, maple syrup, mustard and vinegar. Whisk to combine and set aside.
  3. Preheat a Dutch oven over medium heat with a tablespoon of olive oil. Once the oil is hot, sauté the peppers and onions together until soft and translucent. Next, add in the minced cloves of garlic and cook for 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Reduce the temperature to low and pour in the sauce. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the drained lentils, stir to combine and heat for 5 minutes or until warmed through.
  5. Spoon the lentil sloppy joe filling on a whole wheat slider bun and top with the slaw and serve.
  6. Sloppy joe filling can be kept warm in a crock pot set on low or warm setting.


  1. Combine slaw ingredients in a large bowl. Refrigerate for one hour or until ready to serve.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 745 Total Fat: 8g Saturated Fat: 1g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 277mg Carbohydrates: 147g Fiber: 28g Sugar: 7g Protein: 34g

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21 Responses to “Lentil Sloppy Joes”

  1. #
    Tieghan Gerard — September 30, 2013 at 8:20 am

    I just made sloppy joes for the first time the other night and sliders too! So fun and delicious! I am loving the lentils for a less meaty option!

  2. #
    Shelley @ Two Healthy Kitchens — September 30, 2013 at 8:23 am

    Hi, Laurie! I found your blog via Half Baked Harvest and am so excited that I did! Healthier foods for your family, fewer packaged foods (preservatives and all that icky stuff …) – I am soooooo with you! Love your gorgeous photos – even your method shots are stunning! And … this recipe … yum, yum and double-yum! Pinning ASAP to share with my readers, too! Can’t wait to read more of your blog! 😀

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 30th, 2013 @ 6:50 pm

      Hi Shelley! So nice to meet ya! 🙂

  3. #
    Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar — September 30, 2013 at 11:01 am

    These look soooo good!!

  4. #
    Lauren @ Climbing Grier Mountain — September 30, 2013 at 12:17 pm

    Will you come over and make these for me? They look amazing, Laurie!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 30th, 2013 @ 6:45 pm

      Of course Lauren… anything for you!

  5. #
    Coleens Recipes — September 30, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    You are brilliant!!

    • simplyscratch replied: — September 30th, 2013 @ 6:46 pm

      Why thanks Colleen! 🙂

  6. #
    Megan {Country Cleaver} — September 30, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    Ben will flip for these! He’s a lentil fiend – probably because of the lentil and wheat farmer upbringing of his! These will be made…soon.

  7. #
    Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — September 30, 2013 at 8:13 pm

    Completely drooling over these! Such great color with the cabbage slaw too!

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 1st, 2013 @ 6:43 pm

      Thanks Liz! Lentils aren’t always the prettiest 😉

  8. #
    Vica Demchenko — September 30, 2013 at 9:28 pm

    I love your website! So many great recipes that I must try! So glad a stopped by.

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 1st, 2013 @ 6:42 pm

      Thanks Vica! I’m glad you did too! 🙂

  9. #
    Sydney Dorantes — September 30, 2013 at 9:50 pm

    This looks great! Can I replace the syrup with sugar? Would I use the same amounts?

    • simplyscratch replied: — October 1st, 2013 @ 6:41 pm

      YES! Two tablespoons of sugar would be just fine 🙂

  10. #
    Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — October 1, 2013 at 2:17 am

    Sloppy joes are the best! Love the lentils in this too – haven’t had lentils in ages!

  11. #
    Kathy — October 1, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I have really been enjoying lentils lately. This is a great way to use them! I love sloppy joes and it’s been too long since I’ve had them.

  12. #
    Murali — November 9, 2013 at 5:58 pm

    We just made this, and it was a hit! Thanks for posting. (I found it by googling “lentil sloppy joes”.)

  13. #
    Russ — August 16, 2015 at 9:40 am

    Found your blog when Google searching for cheesy potatoes with “real” potatoes! Love your site and have made the cheesy potatoes twice, roasted vegetable/freekeh salad and these babies shall be made today! Thanks a ton!


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